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African and European researchers have developed a new test that can diagnose the deadly Ebola virus earlier than before.

The test — which works by detecting viral genes in patients’ blood — may be crucial in stemming the spread of the disease, which kills up to 90 per cent of people who contract it.

The virus has so far been difficult to diagnose in its initial stages, when patients show only common flu-like symptoms. Eventually, the virus — for which there is no known cure — causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Researchers from France, Gabon, Germany, the Netherlands and Senegal worked on the project for four years.

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